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Monday 5 December 2016

Kicked ... Bitten ... Head-butted - what gardai face every day

A shocking attack robbery shown on the programme
A shocking attack robbery shown on the programme

Gardai are regularly kicked, head-butted and bitten as they carry out their daily duties in the capital, a hard-hitting new documentary reveals.

The two-part series 'The Guards', which airs on RTE2 tonight, sheds light on the risks frontline members of the force face on a daily basis.

It depicts the efforts made by officers in Store Street Garda Station to combat crime in north-inner city Dublin.

Individual gardai reveal the attacks that they've been subjected to while carrying out their job, which include being kicked in the head, head-butted and even being bitten by HIV-infected addicts.

The garda DMR 'C' district deals with approximately 1,200 incidents every week, with 48,000 victims of crime having been contacted by gardai in the North-Central division.

Raider

In one chilling incident, captured on CCTV at a Londis store, an armed raider holds a gun to the neck of a terrified employee while demanding cash.

A separate store robber is also seen with a large knife held up to the throat of the store owner.

In another sickening attack captured on CCTV, a thug can be seen striking another man in the head with a hammer at least 15 times. The attacker then attempts to strike another man, before a lone garda intervenes and restrains the attacker before arresting him.

Speaking about the incident, Garda Louise Moran - who bravely intervened in the violent attack - said young children, including a baby in a buggy, could have been injured.

"He was hit 15 times across the head with the hammer and the back. My initial reaction was to stop the male, so I did.

"There was a child in a buggy and the whole lot, so I had to make sure they weren't hurt," Gda Moran said. "I didn't think of the consequences of what would happen.

"He [the attacker] didn't think of those young children watching - that they're never going to forget that. I'm certainly never going to forget that," Gda Moran added.

The programme features a number of senior and frontline gardai discussing the constant challenges that they encounter while attempting to combat crime in the capital's busiest police district.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, who was previously responsible for the Dublin Metropolitan (DMR) area, discussed the continuing drug issues.

"People with a drug problem commit all types of crime, which presents itself to us in the form of street robberies.

"We have an overt uniformed presence to prevent crime from happening and we also have plain clothed detectives," Mr Twomey said.

Exploits

The documentary also focuses on the exploits of the Store Street Drug Unit headed by Garda Sergeant Ciaran Whelan.

The programme opens with officers carrying out a raid on a north-inner city apartment complex, with Sgt Whelan saying "after 20 years I still get a buzz going through that door".

He also spoke of the variety of issues that cause an influx of addicts and dealers to converge on the capital's inner city.

"There are so many homeless peoples in hostels that get kicked out at 8.30am, and they do what they have to, to survive."

Since Sgt Whelan's unit began targeting drug dealers in the DMR 'C' district and have detained between 160-170 different drug dealers, with several of these having been caught up to six times.

One drug dealer arrested by the unit is shown in the documentary being taken to a special search room after detectives suspect he has hidden a number of heroin packages on his person.

The individual eventually admits to being in possession of the controlled substances, and following his detention, speaks of how it's a game of "cat and mouse" between gardai and the dealers.

"I knew I was caught. Getting caught, it's embarrassing. You have to hide it [the drugs] where the sun don't shine, it's either that or get caught.

"That's all I'm saying. My stomach's in bits. So now I'm going to have to f*****g pay for that now, I'm going to have to reverse it.

"That's the way it goes, that's life for me, it's the only way I know how to survive, I can't get a job," the man, whose identity is hidden adds.

In another scene, a garda from the south-central division attempts to move a number of individuals from an alleyway, but they initially refuse and a blood-filled syringe is produced.

A woman then threatens the officer as well as the camera crew with the syringe, and after a struggle is restrained and arrested.

The Guards airs on RTE2 tonight at 9.55pm

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